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Calabash Questions

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by OrganizdMadman, Dec 19, 2012.

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  1. OrganizdMadman

    OrganizdMadman Member

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    I'm really enjoying my early Christmas calabash, it's a wood model from Altinok, not gourd, and I've got a few questions about maintenance, so prepare for some stupid questions !
    I've searched through the forums and read a lot of good info, but it all seems to be mainly for the gourd variety. You guys mention using alcohol to rinse the inside, but I'm afraid that might dry out the wood. Another thing is that the inside is a little rough: [​IMG]
    Should I be concerned about this? Also I've smoked a few bowls over the past few days, and wiped the bowl after I'm done, I'm new to meers, but there's a lot more build up than I expected: [​IMG]
    I hate to ask such a newb question but is that normal? I figured they didn't just wipe clean like Teflon, but still.
    Also is the the discoloration around the outside the result of its gradual coloring, or did I inadvertently char the rim a bit? [​IMG]
     


  2. Hawkwood

    Hawkwood Member

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    That's a splendid looking 'bash. All appears well to me, it takes a lot of puffing before any internal cleaning is needed and when the time comes a little Vodka on a toothbrush should do the trick. As for the bowl it will colour, just maintain the cake/smoke hole similar to how you would in a briar. Calabashes really are a great smoke, perfect "house pipe".
     
  3. Ehrgeiz

    Ehrgeiz Member

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    <----Very nice pipe! I've been smoking the same around the holidays for the last few years - a Christmas Calabash gift for me as well. Smokes great! As a right-hander all of my pipe eventually develop a dark mark on the bowl at 7 o'clock position on the rim, even with attention paid to the flame front to prevent scorch. If you have a similar condition on your briars, try rotating the meer bowl after a smoke or two (once it cools, of course) to keep the rim discoloration even.
     
  4. t-bear

    t-bear Active Member

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    You will have some build-up in the bowl...best thing to do is dry ream with a twisted paper towel after each smoke, then clear the draft hole. After a while (weeks...months?) some soft cake will build up inside the bowl, in spite of your dry ream. You can remove this after you smoke the pipe, and while it is slightly warm, by gently scraping with a sharp, round-tipped knife. Just remove the tarry build-up. You should have a smooth, hard, black coating left...no need to dig down to the "white"!

    The inside of the gourd is rough from the carver's knife...no problem. You will get a build-up here too, but not as much. This is natural, and you need not worry about it for quite some time. If the pipe begins to taste sour, you can clean this part with an alcohol dampened paper towel and/or a tooth brush and alcohol. Just don't "soak" the gourd! Wipe dry and let sit over night. My bashes are totally black inside, but they're many years old.....

    The rim of your bowl *will* get a bit scorched/discolored by the flame....can't be helped. Good lighting technique and care will limit it however. You can carefully wipe this area after each smoke to keep build-up from happening, but the discoloration is normal. What I'm seeing here is more coloring than scorch....you're OK so far.

    Nice looking 'bash! They are an enjoyable diversion from your "normal" pipe smoking, so relax....enjoy the ride! :th1:
     
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  5. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    Build-up in the bowl is... oh, T-bear covered that.

    The roughness inside the pipe... nah, he got that, too.

    The coloration around the bowl rim... ok, T-bear's all over that one.

    Hey... what T-bear said! ;)
     
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  6. DanielO

    DanielO Member

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    I also have an Altinok mahogany calabash, but the meerschaum part of mine doesn't seem to be removable. Should it be?
     
  7. t-bear

    t-bear Active Member

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    While I don't own one myself, I believe that it is removable. Should be held in place by a cork gasket strip between gourd and bowl. Before you go twisting things though, let's see if someone here who owns one chimes in. The one that the OP posted here has that cork strip as can be seen in the first photo. While mine are gourd, not wood, they have this also. Pretty sure it's common.
    If yours is an estate, some fool might have just glued it instead of replacing a worn gasket strip...not good.
     
  8. OrganizdMadman

    OrganizdMadman Member

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    Yes, it's removable, however if it hasn't been removed for years it may require some gentle, GENTLE twisting.
     
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